ISRO to contest damages in Devas-Antrix deal

In a belated response, state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Wednesday said it would contest the damages an international arbitration court awarded to its commercial arm for cancelling a satellite contract in 2011 with a multimedia services provider.

“The ICC award against Antrix in the Devas case is shocking. Antrix, with the support of Department of Space, is preparing to file in court its application for remedy,” the space agency said in a statement here.

The Netherlands-based International Criminal Court (ICC) tribunal recently awarded $672-million (Rs.4,434 crore) damages to Antrix Corporation for scrapping the $300-million deal with the city-based Devas Multimedia Ltd.

Ruling in favour of the company in the controversial case, the court found Antrix liable for unlawfully terminating the agreement in 2011, Devas said in a statement here.

The then UPA government cancelled the controversial Devas-Antrix contract in February 2011, invoking sovereignty and decided to use the advanced satellite (GSAT-6) for the country’s strategic use.

Under the annulled deal, Antrix was to lease transponders of the satellite to Devas for allowing it to offer digital multimedia services using the S-band wavelength (spectrum), reserved for strategic purpose.

The space agency, however, launched the controversial satellite (GSAT-6) on August 27 from its spaceport at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, about 90 km north of Chennai, as a communication satellite, using a heavy rocket.